Separation anxiety disorder: Wikis


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Separation anxiety disorder
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 F93.0
ICD-9 309.21
DiseasesDB 34361
eMedicine article/916737
MeSH D001010

Separation anxiety disorder is a psychological condition in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (like a father and mother). It becomes a disorder when the separation reaction becomes strong enough to impair people's ability to conduct their day to day lives and relationships.



Present in all age groups, adult separation anxiety disorder (affecting roughly 7% of adults) is more common than childhood separation anxiety disorder (affecting approximately 4% of children). Separation Anxiety can also occur in dogs, which can lead to chewing for relieving stress.[1][2] Separation anxiety disorder is often characterized by some of the following symptoms:

  • Recurring distress when separated from the subject of attachment (such as significant other, the father or the mother, or home)
  • Persistent, excessive worrying about losing the subject of attachment
  • Persistent, excessive worrying that some event will lead to separation from a major attachment
  • Excessive fear about being alone without subject of attachment
  • Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure, like a significant other or mother
  • Recurrent nightmares about separation
  • crying

Often, separation anxiety disorder is a symptom of a co-morbid condition. Studies show that children suffering from separation anxiety disorder are much more likely to have ADHD, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, and other disorders later in life.[3]

Separation Anxiety Disorder versus Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety Disorder should not be confused with Separation Anxiety, which occurs as "a normal stage of development for healthy, secure babies."[4] Separation anxiety occurs as babies begin to understand their own selfhood—or understand that they are a separate person from their primary caregiver. At the same time, the concept of object permanence emerges—which is when children learn that something still exists when it is not seen or heard. As babies begin to understand that they can be separated from their primary caregiver, they do not understand that their caregiver will return, nor do they have a concept of time. This, in turn, causes a normal and healthy anxious reaction.

Some sources state that separation anxiety typically onsets around 8 months of age and increases until 13-15 months, when it begins to decline[5]. Other sources report a peak from 18-36 months.[6]

Comparing to Separation anxiety, Separation anxiety disorder is when the symptoms of separation anxiety becomes problematic for day to day living.

See also


  1. ^ Adult Separation Anxiety Often Overlooked Diagnosis - Arehart-Treichel 41 (13): 30 - Psychiatr News
  2. ^ Prevalence and Correlates of Estimated DSM-IV Child and Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication - Shear et al. 163 (6): 1074 - Am J Psychiatry
  3. ^ Link Between Separation Anxiety In Children And Subsequent Onset Of Panic Disorder In Adulthood, Testing The Hypothesis
  4. ^ Separation Anxiety -
  5. ^ Siegler, Robert (2006). How Childred Develop, Exploring Child Develop Student Media Tool Kit & Scientific American Reader to Accompany How Children Develop. New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN 0716761130.
  6. ^ Robin R Deterding; Hay, William Winn; Myron J. Levin; Judith M. Sondheimer (2007). Current pediatric diagnosis & treatment. New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill. pp. 200. ISBN 0-07-146300-3.  

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